Dear Parents/Caregivers, Teachers and Community Leaders:
Bicycles are a source of enjoyment and entertainment for children; bikes also provide them with mobility, a way to visit friends, and explore their surroundings. However, a crash that results in a serious brain injury can greatly reduce a child’s ability to grow up to be healthy and productive. A bicycle is actually a non-motorized vehicle and just like driving a motorized vehicle, there are responsibilities that go along with it to ensure personal safety as well as the safety of others. That’s why it is so important to teach your children the basic principles of bicycle safety.
Did you know that in the event of a crash, wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of brain injury and head injury by as much as 85 to 88 percent? Unfortunately, estimates on helmet usage suggest that only 25 percent of children age 5 to14 wear a helmet when riding a bike; for teen riders, the percentage using a bicycle helmet is close to zero! Children and adolescents’ most common complaints are that helmets are not fashionable or “cool,” their friends don’t wear them, or they are uncomfortable and too hot. Bicycle riders also say that they do not think about the importance of bicycle helmets or safe bicycling habits, nor about the need to protect themselves from injury, particularly if they are not riding in traffic.
One of the first steps in teaching children about bicycle safety is to be a role model – “practice what we preach.” To better ensure that children understand bicycle safety and engage in life-long bicycle safety behaviors, adults need to demonstrate the desired behaviors when cycling including wearing a helmet and following the rules of the road.